When we look at the entrepreneurial spirit of some people in Portugal, what’s really remarkable is the way that they overcome the daily battles in search of creative and sustainable solutions to keep their businesses going, to pay their bills and, obviously, their salaries, but also to invest and ensure that they keep themselves at the technological forefront. Today I want to show you one of these cases.
Called SPOTNET, it wants to be “the first Portuguese startup that operates on the IoT (Internet of Things)” and “help to build up this ecosystem in Portugal”. The experience and inspiration of SPOTNET comes from another technology company that has already proved itself in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field, Lusolabs. “Taking advantage of the exciting atmosphere in Lisbon to launch a new technical solution, we have decided that it’s time to take an important step and we have created a solution for startups and cities to have a completely independent Internet of Things communications provider”, say Felipe Lacerda and Miguel Casimiro, founders of Lusolabs and the movers behind SPOTNET.
“We live in a crucial time, not just in Lisbon but also in Portugal and the world as a whole”, adds the mentor at Startup Lisboa, referring to the potential of new communication technologies, “that allows a democratization of solutions and offers, the setting up of partnerships, and the fostering of new business models.”
The Internet of Things or IoT is a concept to which no one remains indifferent. We all know that we are at the beginning of a new era with millions of devices connected and communicating with each other, and that soon there will be billions of these. For SPOTNET, the goal is clear: “We want to boost this IoT ecosystem and to operate with communications to develop future solutions. We are focused on this area and we want to be in this market, working with open protocol”, stresses Lacerda.
Creating a communication platform for the IoT “is not easy”, he adds, explaining that it is a long process, with huge amounts of testing throughout. “We even provided free Internet on Avenida da Liberdade, one of the busiest areas of Lisbon”, which yielded the data that supported the decision to move on to a new phase, “the phase in which we shall have the opportunity to present pilots to cities, set up partnerships with events and other start-ups or entrepreneurs that want to work with the IoT”, he concludes.
It is known that there are also “immense difficulties in developing solutions in a startup environment”, competing with traditional suppliers that are very attuned to the market and are configuring new service packages in this area that are more focused on the commercial world. However, he assures that it is also this “flexibility” and “speed” for developing and carrying out projects that will make the difference.
As part of their portfolio, Filipe Lacerda and Miguel Casimiro already have the collaboration with the city of Lisbon to demonstrate all their solution’s technological capabilities in a major event.
They have also ensured that “we shall take part in international events dedicated to smarts cities and the IoT, both inside and outside Portugal”, he reveals, preferring for now to keep secret the details of what is to come. “It won’t just be good for our company, it will also be something that liberates cities and other companies”, they let slip.
But, because there is an increasing appetite for innovative solutions in the IoT and Big Data areas, SPOTNET’s solution could become a tool with immense potential and a good quality/price ratio to help boost the economies of small towns and villages, not just in Portugal but all over the world; something similar to what is happening with other solutions that began as start-ups, then became giants that now find themselves in the “first division”.
It’s a new world that will soon be accessible to Portuguese engineers, creatives and entrepreneurs who “feel the same spirit” of risking everything for an idea, planning it out, and then executing it. “But don’t think it has been easy”, says Felipe Lacerda, pointing out that the main obstacle is the lack of managers at public institutions willing to work with “small players”, and also some paperwork and legal requirements that in other countries have already been swept aside to make way for the birth of new startups and companies linked to this new and authentic Economy 4.0.